A bill to ban texting while driving is advancing in the Arizona Senate.
The Senate on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a bill making it a nonmoving civil traffic violation punishable by a $50 fine to manually enter information into a handheld wireless device to write, send or read written messages while driving.
The penalty would increase to $200 if the violator is involved in an accident.
Exemptions include allowing motorists to make a telephone call. And texting would be allowed if the motorist’s vehicle is stopped in traffic but not at a red light or stop sign.
Penalties would start in 2012 after a warning period.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 38 states banned texting while driving as of 2010.